How’d You Get That Job? Rebecca Signer Roche (@rsigroche), Senior Labor & Employment Counsel at DynCorp International

by JD Supra Perspectives

Be the best associate a client has ever had and you will be the first person the client thinks of the next time there is an opening...

I had to work very hard to get my first real lawyer jobs out of law school. The market was saturated with available lawyers and while I did well in law school, I did not go to a Top Ten law school. I sent out hundreds of cover letters and leveraged my personal and professional network as much as possible. I even sent resumes to organizations with no postings just in case they were looking – and sometimes this did in fact lead to an interview. Eventually, I was fortunate to have a rewarding clerkship followed by another hard fought position at a national BigLaw firm.

It took a lot of time and many growing pains until I found my niche, but eventually two things came true:

1) I began to love being an employment lawyer; and

2) I began to feel like I was truly helping my clients with their employment law problems.

I continued focusing on these two things over the years and mulled my long-term career goals and interests (e.g., law firm partnership, in-house, etc.). During this time, I began originating a substantial amount of business and bringing in my own clients, even though I was a mid-level/senior associate at the time. This got me some recognition at my firm and it was discussed that I was on the partnership track. I never made any decisions but just continued focusing on practicing employment law and serving my clients.

Eventually, a client approached me about an in-house opening. The stars aligned and here I am. And I absolutely love it. I get to be an employment lawyer, I get to help my client solve its employment law problems, I get to be involved in the delicate interplay between law and business, I get to learn how to assess risk real-time and how to make timely decisions that balance the needs of the business with legal risk. I get to manage cases and develop litigation strategy, I get to work closely with my clients and develop relationships with them, and I get to do all of these things in a work environment that – at least for me – feels more humane than a large law firm.

People with more experience and more seniority have been in your shoes and someone probably helped them get where they are today. Now it’s their turn to help...

I feel unbelievably fortunate to be where I am, but I have also been in the shoes of someone who was looking for a challenging legal position and who was feeling worried about my options. Today, when law students, law clerks and young lawyers come to me for career advice, here is my advice:

1. Be a salesperson

Don’t just troll job listings and then send soulless, standard cover letters to the HR contact. Identify the organization(s) where YOU want to work, find the people who work there who will be your advocate and partner (e.g., someone who went to law school with you? A mutual friend? Someone who went to the same college as you, even if you did not know each other there?) and build relationships with them, and sell yourself to them.

2. Be prepared to do your time

Organizations don’t usually hire entry level lawyers for in-house positions. Get your practical experience from a law firm or governmental agency and if you want to go in-house, give it time to get there. Remember clients of your law firm are a potential future employer! Make your briefs your best writing samples. Make your conference calls your best interviews. Be the best associate a client has ever had and you will be the first person the client thinks of the next time there is an opening.

3. Make your network work for you

Think about your network, build relationships with the people in your network, and make them work for you. People with more experience and more seniority have been in your shoes and someone probably helped them get where they are today. Now it’s their turn to help. Build relationships, be respectful and be patient, but don’t be afraid to ask this question: “Can you help me get this job?”

Ultimately, job searching, like much in life, comes down to being able to sell yourself. Like it or not, this is something we all have to do. Even lawyers. Approach your career and your job searching as a sales challenge and you will stand out.  


[Rebecca Signer Roche serves as senior counsel on all labor and employment matters for a multinational defense company's global operations and worldwide workforce of 25,000+ employees. Previously, Rebecca was a labor and employment associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C. and at McGuireWoods, LLP. Connect with Rebecca on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How'd you get that job? is part of JD Supra's In-House Perspective series, which provides in-house counsel a platform upon which to share their views and thought leadership on issues of the day, including industry news and legal developments, relationships with outside counsel, and law practice matters. To participate in the series, email]

Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.